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Estimates For Number Of HIV/AIDS Deaths In India Still Not Available

While India and US jointly trying to develop defense against the growing menace of HIV/AIDS,// UN officials are aware that there are yet no firm estimates of number of people suffering from the disease are available from the Indian officials.

According to Peter Piot, executive director of the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), one of the statistics about the disease not available is the number of deaths associated with the disease in India each year, although the estimates about the number of living patients are being updated regularly. One of the reasons for such may be that it takes about 10 years for a person infected from the HIV to die and in India HIV/AIDS is a comparatively new entrant in the arena.

According to estimates five million Indians are HIV-positive. The spread of AIDS has been described as the most serious impending health crisis in the country. There are districts where two to four percent of the population is HIV-positive.

However, there are groups in India that argue that even road accidents kill many more people than AIDS and much more attention is being paid to the disease because it has some high profile advocates.

However, experts like Piot counter the argument by saying the real impact of the problem in terms of mortality rate would be felt five to 10 years from now. He feels that dealing with AIDS should be a top concern, and not enough is done in most states.

Piot noted some states like Tamil Nadu had seen a decline in the infection rate. The problem of data accuracy, he said, was more pronounced in northern states such as Uttar Pradesh and Bihar than in southern states.

According to UNAIDS, Asia and Pacific have more than eight million people living with HIV - the second largest after sub-Saharan Africa.

It said if the countries of the region treat the problem as "business as usual", an additional 12 million people would be infected in the nex
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